Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Friday, 22 July 2016



Private 1380

1st Battalion Australian Infantry Brigade

Missing presumed dead - 22nd to 25th July 1916

Walter Musgrove was the brother of a soldier already remembered on this blog; Frederick William Musgrove. Frederick lost his life in the early days of WW1 on 31st October 1914.  His story can be read here.

Walter and Frederick were sons of a well-known member of the Staveley and New Whittington communities. Their father was Inspector Jonas Musgrove. Walter was the youngest child, born in the summer of 1892 he was baptised at New Whittington on 6th July that same year. Walter had three elder brother's named George Henry, Frederick and John and five elder sisters; Marian, Emily, Harriett, Gertrude and Agnes.  The Musgrove household would be a noisy one; the terraced cottages on Speedwell Terrace were stone built properties with stone flagstone floors.

The Musgrove family....

Jonas Musgrove was born around 1847 in Selby, Yorkshire, Emily Wells was born around 1851 in North Anston, South Yorkshire.  The couple married in autumn of 1869 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

By 1891 the Musgrove family have moved home to Chesterfield Road, Staveley.  They have two new editions to the family; Lillian aged 3 years old and baby John Wells aged just 11 months. 

It is evident from the places of birth of Walter and his siblings that the Musgrove family moved around the area, most likely in relation to Jonas' career progression -

*George Henry, Marian, Emily and Harriett born Beighton
*Gertrude born Belper
*Agnes born Mackworth
*Fred, Lillian and John born Staveley
*Walter born in New Whittington in 1892.

Like many families at that time the Musgrove family was a large one. Walter's eldest sister left home and married John William Rodgers at St John's Church, Staveley on 16th December 1891.  Marian and John Rodgers were also proud parents in 1892 when they bore a daughter named Alberta Emily.  She was Walter's niece even though they were born in the same year.

A few years later, on 1st March 1894 Emily Musgrove another of Walter's elder sisters also married.  She wed a mechanical engineer named Ben Jackson Marson at St John's Parish Church, Staveley. 

Next to tie the knot was Walter's eldest brother George Henry on 11th July 1894.  He married Ann Jacques at St John's Parish Church, Staveley.  Jonas and Emily would be celebrating the marriage of their grown up children George Henry and Emily whilst nursing their youngest son Walter who was still a toddler. 

1895 Bulmers History www.ancestry.co.uk
At some time in between 1891 and 1895 Jonas was promoted to Inspector of Derbyshire Police.  The family would be well known and respected by the locals of the area.  The Bulmers History, Topography and Directory records Jonas Musgrove under the Staveley area as County Police Inspector in 1895.

By the 1901 census the lives of the Musgrove family had taken a different pathway, the family were living at 112 High Street, New Whittington.  Jonas was no longer described on the census as a police inspector, he had changed his employment to become a licensed victualler. Walter was just 8 years of age and would attend the local school, Fred was 16 years old by now and as did many of the local men he was working as a coal miner.  

Harriett his sister had married George Buck on 12th September 1900 at Whittington.  George was a young police constable from Cannington in Somerset.  On the night of the 1901 census Emily was staying with Harriett and George at their home in Alfreton, Derbyshire. 

Life was settled in the years of the decade of 1900, Walter's siblings George, Marian, Emily and Harriett gave him more nieces and nephews.  Sad news came in 1902 when the youngest daughter of George died aged only 2 years old.  She was named Marian Zylpha taking the Christian name of her Aunty Marian. 

Agnes Musgrove another of Walter's sisters married Edward Hosey in 1903.  The couple had their first child a daughter named Emily after her Grandmother in 1907. 

Walter and his two siblings continued their studies; Lillian May and John Wells were both studying to qualify as teachers during this time.  

This close family was to have a terrible loss in 1905 when Fred's mother Emily sadly died.  She was aged only 54 years old.  From the story so far it would appear that Emily was a treasured mother who was always on hand to help her growing family when needed. 

Tragic news followed....

Hull Daily Mail 29th November 1907 page 3

The sad news of the death of prominent figure Jonas Musgrove was reported in the Hull Daily Mail and the local newspaper the Derbyshire Times (30th November 1907 p8).  Jonas died on 28th November 1907 whilst visiting his sister Mrs T Upton at his birth town of Selby.  It appears that whilst he was there it was the annual festivities associated with the hiring fair of Martinmas. On the Monday he went along to the fair on Wide Street and partook in the entertainment enjoying a ride on the round-about.  Jonas must have lost his grip as the Derbyshire Times records...

"while the machine was in motion he seems to have dropped off one of the "cockerels" and falling, a large fracture of the skull was the consequence.  He was picked up by relatives and conveyed into Millgate, where he lost consciousness, and death ensued at noon on Thursday"

Probate entry for Jonas Musgrove www.ancestry.co.uk

Jonas was returned to New Whittington and was buried on 1st December 1907 at St Bartholomews Church.  He was aged 61 years old.  He left effects of £1184 11s 2d.  His eldest son George was the executor of his will. 

Life after Emily and Jonas....

The 1911 census finds the Musgrove family separated now that their parents had passed away. 

Walter and Lillian May had moved along with their elder sister Gertrude to live at 95 Handley Road, New Whittington.  Walter aged 18 years old had found employment in a confectioners shop, working as a sales assistant.

Eldest boy George Henry had now taken over the running of the George & Dragon public house on Church Lane in the centre of Chesterfield.  May be he used his inheritance to buy his dream? 

Marian was living with her family not far away from Fred at Lowgates, Staveley.  She has four children now; Alberta Emily, Ida Emily Winifred, Wilfred Eric John and Marjorie Musgrove Rodgers. 

Emily is living in Barrow Hill which is the next village to Staveley.  She has two children; Emily and Roy.

Harriett and her police sergeant husband George Buck have been posted at Stoney Middleton on the edge of the Peak District.  The couple have two daughters; Edith Emily and Ella Musgrove. 

Agnes and Edward Hosey were running the Dusty Miller Inn at New Whittington.  They had three children named; Emily, John and Edward but sadly had lost two sons; John at 6 months of age, Edward under 1 month of age. 

Fred was living in Staveley lodging with Zilpha Willis and her son John Henry at 36 Lowgates.  He is aged 26 years old and has never married.  

John Wells the baby of the family was now 20 years old and had left New Whittington to study at York Training College.  He was a student teacher residing at Lord Mayors Walk, York.  The college was a teacher training college for men only.

Adventure beckons for Walter....

Passenger lists Orvieto www.ancestry.co.uk
1914 brought opportunity and a great adventure for two of the Musgrove family.  Lillian May and Walter set of on the journey of a life time.  They travelled down to London and boarded the Orvieto ship on 13th March 1914 destined for Australia.

Lillian May had qualified as a teacher, Walter was a miner.  They travelled with Walter's friend George Huckle.  A whole new life awaited these young travellers..... If only the Great War had not reared its ugly head.

Back in blighty and Gertrude Mary Musgrove had her own reasons to celebrate in 1914, she married Sydney Vowles. 

Walter's war....

Walter arrived in Australia full of adventure, when the outbreak of WW1 was announced he was in the north of the island with George Huckle.  The pair made their way walking over 400 miles through a terrible sandstorm and enlisted to fight for their King and Country. The weather was so bad that the pair had to be rescued; a newspaper article (Derbyshire Times 12th August 1916, p4) tells "On the way down both were within an ace of losing their lives as they encountered a fierce sandstorm, and were with difficulty rescued"

Walter enlisted on 23rd November 1916 at Liverpool, New South Wales. He returned the next day to sign all the paperwork and receive his medical.  He was a successful applicant and so was now a serving soldier with the 1st Battalion Australian Infantry Brigade, Private 1380.

Walter's service records describe him as being of fair complexion with grey eyes, he was 5ft 8" tall and aged 22 years and 6 months.  Prior to enlisting Walter had been employed as a grocers assistant.

Off to the front....

Walter arrived in Gallipoli in the early days of May 1915.  His service records show that he was not medically fit and on 22nd November 1915 he was admitted to hospital with pyrexia (high temperature) meaning Walter most likely had fever symptoms.  The next day Walter was transferred to a hospital ship and taken to Malta, where on 29th November he was admitted to Cottonera Military Hospital for further investigations.  The hospital was so full up by the end of 1915 that tents had been erected in the grounds to cater for the hundreds of wounded troops coming to them from the Gallipoli and Salonika campaigns.

On 8th December 1915 Walter was transferred once more to All Saints Convalescent Camp.  The camp was as its name suggests a convalescent home, it was a tented establishment which housed well over 1000 men at any one time.  He remained at the camp until 20th December 1916 when he embarked for Alexandria.  He arrived six days later on 26th December and joined his unit at Tel-El-Kebir on 30th December 1915.

Just over two weeks later on 15th January 1916 Walter was again hospitalised, described as "N.Y.D" not yet diagnosed.  He was admitted to the casualty clearing station at Tel-El-Kebir and then moved on to the General Hospital at Gezirah.  This hospital was in fact an Egyptian Royal Palace which was used as a military hospital by the Australian Forces during WW1.  Once again, due to such high numbers of casualties arriving from Gallipoli tents were placed in the grounds.  A fabulous photo of the tents at Gezirah can be viewed here

Walters stay at the Palace was brief and on 18th January he was discharged to "overseas base".  It is not clear where Walter went at this point but on 28th January he was to proceed to re-join his unit.  Nearly a month later on 20th February 1916 he arrived at his unit once more at Tel-El-Kebir.  

Off to join the British Expeditionary Force....

Walter and his comrades embarked at Alexandria on 22nd March 1916, they arrived at Marseilles, France on 28th March 1916.  The Australian Infantry Brigade would be ready to play its part in the great Somme offensive when it came.

As we know the first day of the Battle of Albert, the Somme offensive was on 1st July 1916.  A day when more than 19,000 men were killed. The 1st Battalion Australian Infantry were at Fleurbaix awaiting orders to carry out a gas attack, which had again been cancelled due to "the unfavourable wind direction".  The men were relieved on 4th July and returned to their billets just north of Sailly.

On 8th July orders were given to move on to Outtersteene the next day, this was where the Anzac headquarters where based.  The battalion arrived there the next day but Walter was still unwell, once again suffering with pyrexia he was admitted to hospital on 9th July 1916, transferred to the Division Rest Station on 11th July.  The hospitals and casualty clearing stations in the area would be full to bursting at this time. Walter would find himself within a chaotic and desperate scene, witnessing the horrors of the Somme casualty clearing stations must have been a terrible sight for poor Walter.

On 15th July Walter was discharged and returned to duty.  The numbers of infantry had been totally decimated, man power was needed urgently, Walter would be needed to make up the numbers, even if he was unfit to do so.  When he caught up with his comrades, they were worn out from the miles of marching they had undertaken over the past days. The war diary makes specific comments about the type of boot the men were wearing, which were too heavy for marching and more suited to trench work.  They had been resting in a stable which had not been cleaned out since the horses had been removed, however the men were soldiering on despite such terrible conditions.

The men were being moved each day, when they were not marching they were receiving training in "rapid movement" in anticipation for a coming assault they were to be part of.  On 18th July they were given an outline of the coming assault "tomorrow the 19th, the 1st & 3rd Bdes go into the line".

The Battle of Fromelles....

On 19th July 1916 the Australian Armies were part of the ill-fated and devastating attack known as the Battle of Fromelles. The attack was quickly set up, with soldiers who had seen little action in trench warfare.  The plan was to divert the German armies from the Somme, where the allies were struggling with their own battle front.  

At 16.15pm on 19th July the 1st Battalion marched to Albert where they received their orders; they would relieve the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in the trenches at 20.00 hours.  The day of the 20th July was spent digging further trenches to accommodate the large numbers of troops. 

A conference was carried out at La Boiselle which gave further details of 1st Battalions part in the attack; they were to attack Pozieres, the offensive would be carried out on the night of 21st July/22nd July.

22nd - to 25th July 1916....

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) gives the official date of death for Walter as sometime in between 22-25th July 1916.  Walter lost his life whilst the 1st Battalion were fighting at the Battle of Poziers Ridge.

The war diary tells how their communication wires were cut early on into the battle, this would make the action even more difficult and they note how they used "runners" and "pigeons were also used during daylight proved to be most effective".  However, despite this the Australian 1st Battalion were able to capture Pozieres village within one hour of commencement of the attack.  The ridge would prove much more difficult to take and it wasn't until 4th August 1916 that the battle was finally won.

The 1st Battalion gave their numbers as; 27 Officers and 990 Other ranks on 15th July 1916.  After the days of the 22nd to 25th July they record the following figures in the war diary;

"Officers - Killed 7, Wounded 6, Died of wounds 2
Other Ranks - Killed 92, Wounded 378, Missing 52"

Walter is buried at the Gordon Dump Cemetery, France.  His grave reference number is 1 B 45.  His grave shows the sign of the cross, with no other comments added by his family. 

Private 1380 Walter Musgrove was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

The Derbyshire Times article tells how "After his training he was sent to the Dardanelles, and later Egypt and Malta.  Since going to France in April this year he had seen much fighting"  It goes on to state "It appears he was killed almost instantly by a shell just as a charge was being made in the fighting at Pozieres on or about the 30th July".  (Note again the difference in the date of death given).

Walter gave his next of kin as his brother Harry.  On 15th January 1917 the Australian Imperial Force wrote him the following letter....

"Dear Sir,

With reference to the report of the regrettable loss of your brother, the late No 1380 (1591) Private W Musgrove, 1st Battalion.  I am now in receipt of advice which shows that he was killed in France, between 22nd and 25th July 1916, and was buried at Gordon Dump, France, the Rev R A Harries officiating.

These additional details are furnished by direction, it being the policy of the department to forward all information received in connection with deaths of members of the Australian Imperial Force.

Yours faithfully,

Major J M Lean"

Harry received Walters possessions after his death, which consisted of; "identity disc, scissors, pipe, tobacco pouch, metal ring (damaged), 7 coins, 5 badges, 4 numerals, handkerchief, 2 charms"

Life went on....

The Musgrove family continued as best they could, each had taken a different path and with it came its own joys and sadness. 

George Henry Musgrove may have died in 1936 aged 65 years old.

Marian Annie lived through WW1 and died in 1933.  Her own son Wilfred Eric John Rodgers enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment on 22nd June 1918.  He was 18 years and 4 months old.  We can only imagine how Marian would feel having to chance losing her own son as she had her brother.  Wilfred survived and married Annie Laming in 1928.  He died in 1986 aged 86 years old.

Marian applied for her brother Frederick's 1914 Star medal in 1919.

Emily died in 1933.

Harriett may have died in Cleethorpes in 1958 but this would need to be confirmed.

Gertrude Mary spent the war years alone, whilst her new husband Sydney served with the Army Ordnance Corps from 8th December 1915 till his demobilisation on 20th March 1917.  They had at least one daughter; Mary Vowles was born in 1917.  After marriage Gertrude remained living on Handley Road until her death on 27th October 1952.  She had frequent visits from her younger brother John Wells and his family during this time. 

Agnes Ellen died in 1938, her husband Edward Hosey predeceased her in 1935.

Fred served with the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and lost his life on 31st October 1914.  

Lillian May arrived in Australia on 23rd April 1914 she wasted no time at all and married her sweetheart Samuel Huckle on 25th April 1914.  Samuel was a local lad born in New Whittington.  Lillian would most likely have grown up with him.  When she travelled out to Australia she was chaperoned by her own brother Walter and George Huckle.  George was the younger brother of Samuel. 

1943 Electoral Roll www.ancestry.co.uk

Lillian and Samuel lived at 59 Margate Street, Kogarah, New South Wales.  In the May of 1917 Lilian wrote to the Australian Imperial Force, her love of her home village was evident in her address; "Whittington", Margate Street, Kogarah.

The 1943 electoral roll above shows that the two Huckle brothers remained close; Samuel and Lillian lived at number 59 and George and his wife Lucy lived at number 57. 

Lillian and Samuel had one daughter named Dorothy Musgrove Huckle.  George and Lucy had a son Ronald Huckle.  Lillian died in 1968, Samuel in 1973.  I will tell more of this story in the blog post for Walter Musgrove.

In 1911 John Wells was studying hard at teacher training college in York.  At the outbreak of WW1 he joined his fellow students and enlisted with the Old Boys Public School Regiment.  He joined at Manchester on 5th September 1914.  John was discharged on 21st June 1915 as medically unfit. 

Derbyshire Times 26th May 1944 p8

Life was an adventure for John as it was for Lillian and Walter.  John travelled as soon as the tensions of WW1 had settled; on 26th September 1919 he left London for Cape Town where her lived until his death on 18th May 1944. 

Despite the miles he did return to New Whittington on at least two occasions; he arrived in July 1925 with his wife Ethel and his 1 year old son John.  They stayed at his sister Gertrude's home at 95 Handley Road and are listed on the return journey as leaving Southampton on 11th December 1925 destined for Cape Town.  John travelled alone when his name appears on the passenger lists from London to Durban leaving on 18th November 1938.  He once again had stayed with his sister Gertrude in her new abode at 72 Handley Road, New Whittington. 

Staveley Memorial....

Walter and Frederick Musgrove are not only remembered on the St Barnabas Memorial; their names also appear on the Staveley Memorial.

If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Walter Musgrove or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.


Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects

Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times 12th August 1916 page 4

CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org

War diaries - ref AWM 4 23/1/12 July 1916 via https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/digitised-records/

Australian WW1 service records can be found online at http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-wwi.aspx

Walters service record ref number B2455 at the above website.

Battle of Fromelles -

Cottonera Miltary Hospital, Malta - http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140622/life-features/Cottonera-Hospital-and-Malta-as-the-Nurse-of-the-Mediterranean-.524854

All Saints Convalescent Camp - http://malta.embassy.gov.au/files/mlta/02%20ANZAC%20experience%20-%20Healing.pdf

Photo of Gezirah General Hospital http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-141322278/view

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